The region's leading probiotic and microbiome event — Probiota Asia — will get underway in Singapore this month with a stellar line-up of speakers, including the likes of Blackmores, Danone, Herbalife and Life-Space, set to take to the stage.
Through this new lab, the company intends to expedite the processing of its omega-3 index tests and analyses; these were previously routed through its US headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The test, developed by founder and president Dr Bill Harris, entails customers collecting their own blood samples either at home or at the doctor's, using a simple finger stick and a single drop of blood.
They then send it to the lab, and receive a detailed assessment of their results in a number of weeks.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Harris said: "We've had lot of growing interest in the Asia-Pacific region, starting with Australia — it's been a leader in omega-3 research for decades, so it was the perfect place to set up our first APAC lab.
"The current lab we were able to partner with — a contract lab — does the work for us using our methods and technology. We went to Australia ourselves to get all the equipment set up, and the contract we have with the lab allows us to use their space and have their staff handle the testing for us."
Platform for expansion
OmegaQuant hopes its presence in Australia will act as a springboard for expansion into other APAC markets.
Harris believes it will ease entry into China in particular, where consumers have a strong preference for Australian health and nutrition products and services.
"We believe we have a good opportunity, especially in China, when it comes to maternal health and infant nutrition. We'd like to offer testing for DHA levels in breastmilk for lactating mothers, since that's a factor that directly affects their babies' health.
"We currently offer that service at our lab in Australia, where we're also working on a test for blood levels of DHA for pregnant mothers."
oMEG, Harris said, "Having a lab local to the APAC region will significantly cut turnaround times. This is very important to us, especially when people are waiting for results that will help them make the necessary dietary adjustments to increase omega-3 intake."
He added that the company also is considering offering vitamin D testing.
Attraction to APAC
Within APAC, the firm is especially interested in the omega-3 markets in China, India, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
Harris is confident of OmegaQuant's ability to enter these countries, thanks largely to growing consumer awareness of the importance of omega-3, as well as the benefits of personalised nutrition.
"The biggest challenge in these countries is regulatory, not conceptual. Most people know what omega-3 is and what its benefits are, so it's mostly a matter of getting the necessary legal approvals and certifications."
He also revealed why the company has prioritised APAC over other regions such as Latin America and Europe, saying: "Just about everyone in the industry wants to go to APAC, because the omega-3 market is growing much faster there than, say, Latin America, Europe or Africa.
"The Asian middle class is getting bigger, and more people are investing in their health and looking for new ways to improve their quality of life.
"In this regard, I would say that personalised nutrition really is the future of health and nutrition."
Harris has several decades of experience studying omega-3 fatty acids, and the test has been used in over 300 research studies.
OmegaQuant has been supporting research into fatty acids, and intends to continue doing so via collaborations with organisations to promote the use of EPA and DHA.